In a grand commemoration of the legendary playback singer Mohammed Rafi’s birth centenary, a series of events is set to unfold, spanning across the nation. As the stage is meticulously prepared for a year-long celebration in Mumbai, one of the most significant highlights is the erection of a colossal ‘Rafi Minar’ in Amritsar, standing tall at 100 feet.
The celebratory kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at the iconic Shanmukhananda Hall, orchestrated in collaboration with the World of Mohammed Rafi Welfare Foundation (WMRWF) and the Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha (SSFASS). NR Venkitachalam, the Founder-Director of WMRWF, shares the ambitious plans for the centennial, promising a musical extravaganza with 12 special concerts featuring exclusively Mohammed Rafi’s timeless songs on the 24th date of each month.
“We shall invite popular ‘Rafi specialist’ singers from all over India to perform and bring alive the memories of Rafi Sahab,” affirms Venkitachalam. The musical tributes aim to resonate with Rafi’s legacy, captivating audiences with the soul-stirring melodies that defined an era.
However, the pinnacle of the celebration lies in the construction of the imposing ‘Rafi Minar’ in Kotla Sultan Singh village, near Amritsar. Crafted from steel, this 100-foot-tall monument is more than a mere structure; it is a testament to Rafi’s indelible mark on the world of music. Engraved on its surface are not just the physical dimensions but the essence of Rafi Sahab’s artistry—100 of his top songs, along with their poignant lyrics.
“The ‘Rafi Minar’ will stand as a perpetual reminder to all future generations of Mohammed Rafi’s invaluable contributions to enriching human lives through his singing,” explains Venkichalam. The ambitious memorial is slated to be completed in the first half of 2024, promising to be a destination for Rafi enthusiasts and music lovers alike.
In addition to this towering tribute, the SSFASS and WMRWF are undertaking the renovation of Mohammed Rafi’s alma mater, the Government Elementary Urdu School. This institution, where the maestro studied until Class IV before moving to a higher educational institution in the village, will undergo a comprehensive transformation.
“We shall completely renovate Rafi Sahab’s school with all facilities. A music section will also be started in his memory,” asserts Venkitachalam, emphasizing the commitment to preserving Rafi’s legacy beyond the auditory realm.
This comprehensive tribute, involving not only musical celebrations but also physical monuments and educational initiatives, underscores the enduring impact of Mohammed Rafi’s artistry. As the nation gears up to celebrate the maestro, the ‘Rafi Minar’ stands as a beacon, symbolizing the heights to which Rafi’s melodies ascended and the everlasting resonance of his musical legacy.